Tuesday, December 30, 2008

With Good Wine, There's Always Hope

So, the year ends on a gloomy economic note, with even more gloom being offered for 2009 by most of the experts. Remaining sanguine, as a small business owner, in times like these is not easy but from a wine-quality standpoint, times have never been better.

There is much to be thankful for and excited about. On a personal note, the family got through another year healthy and happy (relatively!). I am surrounded by an immensely talented and caring team of wine professionals that gets better every year. Our wines are better than ever.

Aging is seldom met with positive feelings unless we are talking about vineyards. Our two estate sites, Ghielmetti Vineyard and HRV (Home Ranch Vineyard) are just now beginning to show how great their fruit can be and our wine making team is making strides as well.

All the joy I get doing what I do would not be possible without the enthusiasm and support of our club members and guests. Thank you for all that you have given us in 2008. We look forward to sharing many great wines with you in 2009!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Finding a New Direction in the Old

Steven Kent began life with one mission and one wine.

Our mission to create world-class wine hasn't changed since the first day, but our lineup of wines has grown dramatically. 2009 will mark a return to our first love: Cabernet.

With three distinct, potentially world-class vineyard sites now in full production, we have the vinous pieces in place to match our mission to reality. We will be offering seven different Cabernets in the coming year; wines separated by relative quality and production levels. Each of these wonderful wines is complete unto itself and reflects the best of site, clone, and vintage.

Our top tier of Cabernet, the Premier Cabernet Collection is composed of two 2009 release wines: 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Ghielmetti Vineyard, Clone 30 and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Ghielmetti Vineyard, Clone 191. Each of these wines is available in 3-pack boxes and will be released in March and September respectively. Only 192 3-packs of each wine were produced. The Clone 30 wine is one of the finest wines we have yet made and is a beautiful example of classic Cabernet flavors and structure.

Three wines make up the 2009 Single Vineyard Series lineup: 2006 Cabernet Sauvigon - HRV; 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Smith Ranch; and 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Ghielmetti Vineyard. These wines are made in extremely small supply, and each represents the finest few barrels chosen from the larger lot of wine. Only 125, 50, and 75 cases of these wines were produced.

Our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon - Livermore Valley is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon from three different vineyards and is the only wine we produce that is available, at this time, in stores and restaurants. This wine displays great richness of texture and complexity of aromas and flavors and will be released in April 2009.

The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon made exclusively for members of our Future Release Program rounds out our 2009 releases.

2009 marks a year of renewal for the Steven Kent Winery. For those who love Cabernet as much as I do, it is going to be a great year.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

It's Soy Good...

Soy. Not a descriptor I would normally attach to a wine. Sushi maybe, wine no. I've seen this word used before to describe wine and as a matter of fact I have heard Steven refer to it several times with some of our pinots in La Rochelle. I never could quite get the soy. I just chalked it up to my amateur palate. Then I opened a bottle of the 2003 Garys' Vineyard Pinot Noir which was created especially for the Steven Kent Future Release Program. One sip and I was hit with a soy bomb. Yes, a soy bomb! It was unbelievable. Not only was the flavor amazing, but the mouthfeel was silky and coated my tongue like a cashmere jacket in autumn. It was perfect. How could I have missed this?

I thought back and remembered when we released this wine in 2005. We had never done a pinot before and I was not familiar with the grape. Sure, I had pinot noir prior to this but it was a casual acquaintance, not a varietal I could appreciate. I remember tasting the 2003 and enjoying it, but thinking I enjoyed cabernet more. Since its release I have had the honor of tasting many more pinots, whether our own at La Rochelle or those we bring in for tasting to compare and contrast with our own. While I still enjoy my cabernet, I have come to appreciate what pinot noir has to offer. I enjoy opening each bottle, wondering what flavor awaits me…will it be earthy…dark fruit…perhaps cardamom - a favorite of mine, or another spice??? Or maybe this time it's soy.

Grab a bottle of pinot and open it up…what do you taste???